The iconic Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT) which has served as a major freediving training facility — in addition to its primary role of training British submariners how to escape from a sunken submarine — is closing down this year.

Thousands of British submariners have trained in the 900,000-liter (237,755-gallon) escape tank, which will be replaced later this year by the SubMarine Escape Rescue Abandonment and Survival Training Facility (SMERAS TF) in Faslane, Scotland.

Iconic SETT Diving Tank Closing Down
Iconic SETT Diving Tank Closing Down’s own Emma Farrell, who ran freediving courses at the SETT, has fond memories of the facility:

“My first real experience of freediving was at the SETT tank, back in 2000, and I started teaching there in 2003 when I was Head of Freediving for DeeperBlue, running courses at the SETT and wider afield. At the time, there wasn’t a course that could be taught at a facility such as the SETT. I was one the founding members of the AIDA education commission, along with’s Stephan Whelan, and we were writing the first AIDA courses. So we adapted the AIDA ** Freediver course into the AIDA Deep Tank Freediver course, certifying hundreds of students during the time we taught there.

“The SETT was one of the most incredible facilities to freedive and teach in. It was 30 meters (98 feet) deep, and 36.5 degrees Celsius (97.7F) warm. It enabled students to dive all day without wetsuits, and learn equalization skills in a perfect environment. One of the downsides to teaching was that the lack of buoyancy from a suit made duck diving too easy, and it was often a bit of a shock when students transitioned from the SETT to open water freediving in the UK.

“I really miss the SETT. It was the place I learned to freedive, and the place I started my teaching career. The last time I went there, I gained special access to bring a group of Paralympic swimmers to the SETT, so they could experience freediving. It was a very special day and even though I hoped it wouldn’t be, I knew it was probably the last time I would get to freedive there.”

Check out the video below of freediving the SETT.


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